The next day, it’s time to head back. The hike is mostly downhill, so easy on the legs, and you are back in Nasim Pati for a night halt. Next on the route is Dukang (2,100 m) another overnight. Come dawn, and you hike to Dhap (1,200 m), and then Melamchi Bazaar (800 m), from where you drive back to the capital. As you may have noticed this trek is quite a leisurely one, the uphills notwithstanding, but there’s one other route to reach Panch Pokhari. This is ideal for those with scarce time on their hands, taking about four to five days only. No doubt, spending more time in such pristine surroundings, and experiencing different cultures, is an opportunity of a lifetime, so most trekkers prefer the ten-day trek. Anyway, if you don’t have a lot of time, take a bus drive up to Melamchi Bazaar, going via Sankhu, an ancient Newar town about seventeen kilometers from the capital, and which has a conch-shaped look, so the name (conch is sankhu in Nepali). The road is not at its best at most times, so the ride could be less than comfortable. Anyway, you’ll reach Melamchi in about three hours. Melamchi is very much in the spotlight since quite some time now, due to the fact that there’s an ongoing water supply project designed to bring the plentiful water of the Melamchi River to the capital, which faces acute water shortage. If you are going at a time when there’s a festival on in the area, the bus may even take you to Mane Kharka, and perhaps as far as Bhotang. Lunch (daal-bhaat) halt is at a place called Tipni, which is some one-and-a-half-hour from Melamchi. You are likely to see plenty of yellow mustard fields around, with high mountains surrounding them. From Mane Kharka, Bhotang is at a distance of about one hour, and this is where you will spend the night in a guest house. Have your fill of the piping hot food there, because you’ll be hiking from the next morning, when your first destination is Tangu, and which you’ll reach after climbing a long and steep flight of stone steps and then hiking steadily uphill. On the way, you’ll also come across a lovely stream, as well as a cascading waterfall, and it’s all a very pleasing trek, no doubt, even if it’s uphill and through dense vegetation. Naturally, it’s exhausting, as well, so you take good rest at Tangu. The next day’s hike is even more challenging, and very taxing on your limbs and on your back, since you’ll be walking ever upwards. Five hours of this will see you in Nasim Pati, where you’ll set up camp, of course. And then, the following morning you walk along mountain ridges before finally arriving at the fabled Panch Pokhari. The return trip, after the mandatory dip(s) in one of the pokharis, and an eyeful of magnificent landscape from the nearby hilltop, sees you back in Nasim Pati, where you spend the night again. Sleep well and take good rest, because the next day involves a full day of hiking to reach Bhotang, which is your night halt for the day. Early next morning, you continue your trek for about four more hours to finally reach Melamchi, and then it’s off to Kathmandu on a bus.